African-American Communities Will See Enhanced Efforts That Highlight the Affordability and Accessibility of Quality Health Insurance
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Covered California officials kicked off a new marketing and outreach campaign to increase African-American enrollments in the state’s health coverage program. The campaign focuses on informing African-Americans about the affordability of quality health insurance, and the exchange will place particular emphasis on specific geographic areas across the state where higher numbers of uninsured and subsidy-eligible African-Americans live, work, play and pray.
Covered California is using a new data-driven approach to target specific ZIP codes across the state, pinpointing where higher numbers of uninsured and subsidy-eligible African-Americans live.
Research conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago in the spring of 2015 revealed that while California’s African-Americans are aware of Covered California, they lag behind other ethnicities when it comes to awareness of the financial assistance that is available only through Covered California and that helps consumers pay for their monthly insurance premiums. Data can be found at www.CoveredCA.com/news/PDFs/AAEI-slides.pdf.
New data show that active enrollment among subsidy-eligible African-Americans is at 2.4 percent while African-Americans constitute 5 percent of the state’s subsidy-eligible population. The exchange’s focused efforts to increase the enrollment percentage begins with the third open-enrollment period, which runs from Nov. 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016.
The campaign centers around establishing enrollment storefronts at highly familiar and visible locations; conducting marketing and outreach that is specific to African-American consumers; and engaging businesses, schools, churches and community organizations. The exchange will encourage uninsured Californians to stop coping with a lack of health coverage and instead enroll in a health insurance plan through Covered California.
“Changing our state from a culture of coping to a culture of coverage is a long-term proposition,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said. “We’ve made great progress in helping African-Americans gain the coverage they need and deserve, but we recognize there is much more to be done to prove to the remaining uninsured the value of having health coverage.”
Outreach materials will advise African-American consumers that their health and well- being is worth insuring and that many Californians are receiving thousands of dollars each year to help with the cost of health insurance premiums — money that African-American consumers should not walk away from.
Covered California is targeting specific areas in Los Angeles and San Diego counties and the Inland Empire, where two-thirds of California’s 130,000 subsidy-eligible African-Americans reside, as well as targeting areas in Northern California in parts of Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano and Sacramento counties.
Covered California will push enrollment through service channels like storefronts in African-American communities where Certified Insurance Agents and Certified Enrollment Counselors will be on hand to assist consumers. With support from Covered California community partners, the agency will sponsor education and outreach campaigns, with resources for pastors at church enrollment events, informational materials for barbershops and hair salons, and “enrollment block parties” in high-priority African-American neighborhoods.
In addition, enhanced social media and marketing campaigns will be launched to reach African-Americans, and Covered California will have partnerships with local schools, businesses and community-based organizations that serve African-American communities.
“We’ll reach out to consumers where they live, work, pray and play,” Lee said. “Covered California will continue to focus on reaching the state’s diverse population and enrolling consumers in all communities during its upcoming open-enrollment period. We want to make sure we see the enrollment numbers in our African-American communities rise.”
About Covered California
Covered California is the state’s marketplace for the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Covered California, in partnership with the California Department of Health Care Services, was charged with creating a new health insurance marketplace in which individuals and small businesses can get access to affordable health insurance plans. Covered California helps individuals determine whether they are eligible for premium assistance that is available on a sliding-scale basis to reduce insurance costs or whether they are eligible for low-cost or no-cost Medi-Cal. Consumers can then compare health insurance plans and choose the plan that works best for their health needs and budget. Small businesses can purchase competitively priced health insurance plans and offer their employees the ability to choose from an array of plans and may qualify for federal tax credits.
Covered California is an independent part of the state government whose job is to make the new market work for California’s consumers. It is overseen by a five-member board appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. For more information about Covered California, please visit www.CoveredCA.com.